It's getting close now! To kick off the March 26th book launch for Beyond the Clearing, I thought I'd post an excerpt to whet your appetite. I hope you enjoy it!
BEYOND THE CLEARING
Tony grabbed his rifle from the locked storage cabinet. He had a bad feeling and didn’t know what to expect and so it was better to be prepared. These parts were known to be home to black bears and mountain lions. This concerned Tony greatly if Mrs. Sylva had decided to go for a late-night stroll or pre-dawn walk. Mountain lions primarily hunted during those hours. But, it was the bears that posed a much bigger threat, especially if Mrs. Sylva encountered a mother with cubs.
He brought the beefy little machine to life and rolled out towards the wilderness. It didn’t take long for him to reach the outskirts of the compound and he continued on, searching for anything that might suggest someone had recently traversed the area outside the known trails.
Perhaps she’d gotten lost. It was a logical assumption, especially if one did not have the sun to guide them in any way. Tony highly doubted that Mrs. Sylva traveled with a compass. Most of the people that came to this place were city-dwellers in search of spiritual guidance; a magic healing power that could help free them of their past transgressions, or release their tortured souls from the confines of daily suburban life.
Tony had reached a point where his vehicle could no longer be of use. The narrowed trails would have to be taken by foot through this part of the mountainous woods. The winds last night might have taken whatever clues were left, with the exception of a few boot prints he had spotted at the bottom where his ATV remained. It was a shot in the dark, but it was as good a place as any to start looking for Mrs. Sylva. Fortunately, the rains came in sparse last night and parts of the area hadn’t been touched at all. He felt fortunate even to find any prints. Best to see where they led. This area was on the “do not enter” part of the resort, due to the rough terrain. So, finding prints at the base might mean someone who didn’t want to be found just might come up through this restricted area.
Although the skies were clear now and the sun shone brightly on this early morning, these backwoods, where the brush was thick and the trees were high, allowed for little light to seep in. The large pines and boulder outcrops nearly blocked out the sun.
He held his rifle in his right hand and made his way through the trees and rocks. The ground revealed more footprints and he followed them until reaching an unusually flat piece of ground, a clearing, where the prints ended. He had worked for the resort for the past two years and couldn’t ever recall seeing this place before. Many of these parts were off limits to the guests. But as a man who needed to know his surroundings well, this former Marine left nothing to chance and continued on with caution.